fiar: humphrey the lost whale

Jan 14, 2014 by

fiar: humphrey the lost whale

Annes and I started our FIAR adventure again this week. We took December off and just got into the swing of things with FIAR again. I wanted to read All The Places To Love, one of my all-time favorite books, but she chose Humphrey The Lost Whale

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This is the endearing, true story of a humpback whale who make a mistake and traveled under the Golden Gate Bridge, into San Francisco Bay, and up the the Sacramento River in 1985. Scientists, the U.S. Coast Guard, and people from all over the world worked together to help Humphrey get back out to the deep waters of the ocean.

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Miss Annes thoroughly enjoying this book. The whole time we were reading it she kept asking, “He doesn’t die does he? He makes it back to the ocean, right?” Today we talked about salt water vs. fresh water, the Golden Gate Bridge, blowholes, different types of bridges, whale sounds, and the maps in the book.

Great times with my little one – so grateful I have this time with her.

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book bonanza: the giraffe that walked to paris

Jul 2, 2013 by

book bonanza: the giraffe that walked to paris

Oh my goodness! Guess what just arrived at my house?

The Giraffe That Walked To Paris!

Yes! You heard (read?) me right! It is back in print! After years and years and years of being out-of-print and being impossible to find for under $100, it was reissued on June 21 and is now available for a mere $13! This is one of our favorite books and is used in the FIAR Vokume 2 Literature Guide that I am using this next school year with Annesley. Miss Annes and I are so excited we can hardly contain ourselves!

If you have not heard of this delightful book, here is a review:

In an attempt to improve relations between Egypt and France, who were on opposite sides of the Greek War of Independence in the 1820s, the pasha of Egypt presented King Charles X with a giraffe, the first in Europe in over three centuries. But in the days before aircraft, how do you send a large, ungainly animal such a long way? The answer is depicted in this book–a sea : voyage to Marseilles, and then a six-week march to Paris. The brief text is written in a chatty style that deals effectively with the logistics of the move and its historical underpinnings. It also includes details that will appeal to young readers: the custom-made giraffe raincoat necessitated by France’s cooler climate, the need for a cow in the entourage to provide La Girafe’s daily rations, the unusual way a giraffe moves its legs in walking. The illustrations are attractive pastel cartoons and one full-color photograph of the giraffe’s stuffed remains, still on display at La Rochelle. The book concludes with a historical note briefly outlining the background of the story. A charming illumination of one of history’s more obscure footnotes. –Barbara Hutcheson, Greater Victoria Public Library, B.C., Canada

We love checking books out from the library as it is always an adventure to go and find new treasures, but for our FIAR books I really like to own them and be able to pick them up at any time without having to make a library trip. This year I am attempting to collect all the Volume 2 books and put them on our kitchen bookshelf so Annesley can keep them all together all year long on her very own special shelf.

I am also considering doing Beyond FIAR with Fisher this fall. Have any of you used this? If so, what was your experience like?

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fiar: down down the mountain

Sep 19, 2012 by

What a sweet story! Hette and Hank want some shoes, some special shoes that go creaky-squeaky-creaky-squeaky, but Papa and Mama say there is not one single cent to buy shoes. They don’t give up though and ask Grandma who tells them to plant and grow turnips and then sell them down the mountain in the village.

The two children work hard all summer and grow the biggest turnips anyone has ever seen. At harvest time they make the long journey to the village. Along the way they run into people who are hungry and need some of their turnips. They end up giving all of them away except for one giant turnip. Now they can’t buy their special shoes! Hette and Hank are determined and find another way.

I love the gumption of these two kids and how they are willing to work hard for their dreams. The illustrations are top notch and make the story come alive. I love that my children are learning how much they have and what it has been like living in other time periods and in other places. Such a wonderful story of family life, courage, and hard work!

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fiar: the glorious flight

Aug 28, 2012 by

fiar: the glorious flight

We are having a wonderful school week so far. I think my kids are so ready for some order in their lives (and more importantly, for me to be fully present with them) that they are eating up our learning time. We started our Five In A Row read-aloud yesterday and thought The Glorious Flight has been on my shelf for years this is the first time I have read the famous story of Louis Bleirot who flew across the English Channel in 1909.

I am in love with this book.

1. It is so French. The sentence structure screams France (and while I don’t love France, I love books that exude a culture so thoroughly you can feel it).

2. Louis had gumption and determination and courage. My children need to be surrounded by examples of people doing hard things and not giving up the first, second, or gazillionth time.

3. Louis’ dream to fly became a family project.

Yesterday we read it and loved seeing Louis succeed at the cliffs of Dover. Today we read it again and found the English Channel on the map and talked about how Louis and his family could have given up when his first plane couldn’t fly at all or his fourth that moved around in circles on the pond or his sixth that got snagged on a rock. He could have given up after he finally got a plane in the air, but after just a few minutes would come crashing down, often injuring him.

But he didn’t. He persevered. He stayed true to his dream. He kept working and thinking and experimenting and DARING to do something no one had ever done.

Courage…we all need more of it.

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fiar: katy and the big snow

Apr 24, 2012 by

fiar: katy and the big snow

I love this book. Today Fisher, Annes, and I curled up in my bed and read Katy and the Big Snow for the gazillionth time. We found all sorts of things on the map and Annesley cheered Katy on as she worked herself through the Geopolis snow drifts. Virginia Lee Burton created stories my children beg for over and over again and I love her for it. I would kiss her if I was anywhere near her. I remember reading The Little House to Blythe and highlighting all the sight words to help her learn to read them. I remember the first time I read Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel to Fisher and how his little boy mind latched right onto the idea of a big machine doing a big job and how he wanted to do big jobs too.

Reading to my children is one of my very favorite things to do. Infusing them with a love of literature, beautiful illustrations, and characters that speak to their hearts is a privilege I take seriously. I strive to surround them with books that will build their little souls into people who stand true, fight hard, and serve well. What are your favorite books to grow your children into their best selves?

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fiar: hot air

Feb 14, 2012 by

fiar: hot air

This week we are reading Hot Air by Marjorie Priceman. It tells the mostly true story of the first hot air balloon ride in Versailles, France in 1783. A chicken, sheep, and duck were sent up in the air and stayed up for eight minutes traveling about two miles. This particular book gives the background events and then makes up what could have happened to the three animals as they flew across the city. Fisher thinks it is hilarious and we think you will as well.

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fiar: the red hen

Feb 7, 2012 by

fiar: the red hen

I love, love, LOVE the books that are recommended in the Five In A Row guidebook. We have thoroughly enjoyed all of them that we have done. However, I am not a rule follower of any type, so I like to pick other books for our FIAR books as well. This week, I selected The Red Hen by Rebecca Emberley (yes, of the Emberley family fame – she is the daughter of Ed and sister of Michael and has a whole host of other artists and musicians in the family).

Of course, Fisher already knows this story inside and out, but he doesn’t know this version of it (where the hen makes a cake instead of bread) and he doesn’t know this artwork (which pops off the page and is simply delightful) and I don’t know that the message of everyone-working-together-to-reap-the-fruits-of-our-labors together has really sunk into his heart (or made him the super-duper willing helper I want him to be), so we are reading this book this week with high hopes the message will change some I-don’t-want-to-help behavior. Of course, he doesn’t have any idea that is why we are reading it…we will be talking a lot about the art of the book and making Little Miss Red Hen’s Simply Splendid Cake.

If you are a FIAR family, what are you rowing this week?

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fiar: the clown of God

Nov 10, 2011 by

fiar: the clown of God

Fisher and I are reading The Clown of God by Tomie de Paulo this week.

Tomie is one of our favorite authors. If you haven’t read The Art Lesson and Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs, run to your nearest library and check them out today! They are such lovely ways to connect big ideas into our little ones’ hearts.

So far, we have we learned how to say “arrivederci” and that it means “till we meet again” in Italian. Ironically, he can say it pretty well! We have discussed that happiness is a choice and just because we are hungry or orphaned or made fun of doesn’t mean we need to choose to be miserable. We learned that each of us have skills we can develop and use to bring others joy. We have talked about what we can do to serve Jesus and how we can bring Him joy, just like Giovanni brings Him joy in the story.

I adore FIAR. I am not great at doing projects that go along with the books, but I have found that great benefits come when I snuggle up with Fisher and read him the same book day after day. He falls in love with each book we read and most importantly, he knows I value him enough to have our special reading time together. Our FIAR time is our time to be together and share ourselves ..I am able to see into his heart and learn of his compassion for the characters we read about. I see how his brain works and makes connections. I see what interests him most and get ideas for teaching him about other things.

If you are interested in FIAR, you can check it out here.

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fiar: how to make an apple pie

Oct 24, 2011 by

fiar: how to make an apple pie

Our FIAR book of the week is How To Make An Apple Pie and See The World by Marjorie Priceman. Fisher and I are in love.

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The market is closed so the girl must travel the world to find her apple pie making ingredients. She traveled to Italy to find wheat for the flour, France for elegant chickens to lay the best eggs, Sri Lanka to find kurundu bark for the cinnamon, England for a cow with the creamiest milk, Jamaica for sugar cane, and Vermont for apples. What a trip!

Then we finished off the day by eating a real apple pie and carving pumpkins (no, I didn’t make it today…I made it a long time ago and froze it and Keziah thought it would be a fabulous idea to bake it for our Family Home Evening treat.)

Fisher giggled all the way through it, told papa all about it when he got home, and he can’t wait to read it again tomorrow. This one is a keeper!

p.s. I am on a posting spree…I don’t know what is up with that! Pictures of the pumpkin carving will be up soon.

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